Wrightsville Beach

Eat. Stay. Play. Shop

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The sand. The surf. The salt air. Area beaches are a big draw for the summer travel season, and if you can brave the parking, the day’s oasis awaits once you sink into your spot facing the ocean. Or, skip the beach traffic altogether and hunker down for the weekend in a rental or hotel. Whether Wrightsville, Carolina, Kure, Topsail beaches, or beyond, there are days for any mood – beach chairs for lounging, boutiques for shopping, and instructors for surfing. Out here, the great outdoors are calling.


When Crystal Pier was first built in 1939, it was the longest pier on the Eastern Seaboard. Later rebuilt, today you can sit and enjoy drinks and bites on the pier that juts out from the Oceanic, 703 South Lumina Avenue. The restaurant offers up seafood dishes and coastal-inspired items, from crab-stuffed salmon to a grilled Jamaican jerk chicken sandwich, along with a postcard-worthy view.

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Crystal South Surf Camp

Whether brand new to riding waves or honing your skills, surfing lessons are one way to get out of the beach chair. Jo Pickett, a former U.S. national shortboard champion, helps run Crystal South Surf Camp, providing private and group lessons as well as coaching. Pickett also has organized the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic, an all-girls and women surf competition, in recent years.

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Hallelu at 84 Waynick Boulevard is known for a casual but trendy beach vibe for the shop’s clothing, swimwear, accessories, and more. Owner Tara Huneycutt (below) also keeps up a strong web presence with the boutique’s online store and social media channels – @shophallelu on Instagram. Good to note when November hits, and you need a dose of summer.

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Blockade Runner

Hit hard by Hurricane Florence in 2018, the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, 275 Waynick Boulevard, reopened after extensive renovations with a redesigned lobby and restaurant and updated rooms. The result is colorful spaces with a playful take on coastal design. The hotel, a Wrightsville Beach landmark for more than fifty-five years, overlooks the ocean across its grassy lawn.

Photos c/o Blockade Runner

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Eat. Play. Stay. Shop

To view more of photographer TJ Drechsel’s work, go to tjdrechselphotography.com.

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Categories: Features